After a short reprieve following some rain and snow during the past week, fire danger is again rising for southern Colorado.
The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for the southeast quarter of the state Monday. Gusty west winds up to 40 miles per hours, relative humidity dropping as low as eight percent, and dry fuels will combine to create conditions where any fires that start could spread rapidly.
The watch is likely to convert to a red flag warning as expected conditions are confirmed over the next day. In Colorado, the watch covers all of Baca, Prowers, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Las Animas, Bent, Otero, Crowley, Lincoln, Costilla, Huerfano, Pueblo, El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Custer and Alamosa counties. Portions of Elbert, Saguache, Rio Grand and Conejos counties are also included. The watch extends to west central Kansas, Oklahoma panhandle, western Texas and nearly all of New Mexico.
Fire risk was elevated Saturday, however cool air streaming into Colorado will lower the danger through Sunday night.
High temperatures Monday could reach the low 80s before dropping back to the 60s Tuesday. Drought conditions continue to be an issue across Colorado, and several counties have received disaster declarations based upon drought impacts for agricultural producers.